Olympic Day: My First Olympic Medal with Martin, Dasha and Simon

Olympic Day: My First Olympic Medal with Martin, Dasha and Simon

Every biathlete dreams of the ultimate prize: a medal at the Olympic Winter Games; the fulfillment of a lifelong dream; a stepping stone to more success. However, only a select few ever win one of these cherished medals. To celebrate Olympic Day, Martin Fourcade, Darya Domracheva and Simon Eder reflect on winning their first Olympic medals at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games.

Olympic Day: My First Olympic Medal with Martin, Dasha and Simon

Martin Fourcade “No Pressure’
Martin Fourcade went to Vancouver as an outside shot for a medal. His brother Simon was number 1 the World Cup Total Score, Vincent Defrasne was the defending Pursuit Gold medalist. “All the pressure and focus was on them. By the mass start, Vincent Jay was also Olympic Sprint Champion... I was disappointed about my sprint (35th place); I had good sprint results all season so it had been my main expectation. Even though I was one of the main outsiders, I never felt the pressure.”

From 28th to Silver Medal
The mass start did not start well; Fourcade picked up two first-prone penalties. “I was 28th after the first prone and really disappointed since it was my last medal chance. I left the shooting range hopeless, without any expectations. Klemen Bauer passed me and I decided to follow; lap after lap catching guys. I saw the front group was skiing slowly and I went full attack. Even though I missed the last shot; winning the Silver medal was like winning Gold for me.”

Olympic Day: My First Olympic Medal with Martin, Dasha and Simon

Sharing with Simon
At the finish, “First I did not realize what happened; I was a bit shocked. When my brother Simon came to the finish line, I told him we shared this Olympic medal because he was my idol and the reason I was in biathlon. He told me congratulations and to enjoy it. The rest of the day was crazy; the podium ceremony was not the best part for me, because I could see my brother in the crowd and his disappointment about how his Olympics went. Still, I remember every detail of that day, probably more than in any of my Gold medals because that medal was my first one. It showed me how much I wanted more.  I realized that the medal was just a step and I wanted to get Gold in Sochi; that took four years of hard work, blood and sweat.”

Olympic Day: My First Olympic Medal with Martin, Dasha and Simon

Motivation
The Vancouver medal had a huge effect on the man who now owns five Olympic Gold medals. “I think that medal added two or so years of motivation to my career. It is easy to want something when you know exactly what it is. From that day, I knew what the feeling was to be on the top of the sport, almost...and I knew that was what I wanted as a biathlete.”

Olympic Day: My First Olympic Medal with Martin, Dasha and Simon
Olympic Day: My First Olympic Medal with Martin, Dasha and Simon

Darya Domracheva: Hard Work for Bronze Medal

Going into the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games, then 23-year-old Darya Domracheva had just two WC podiums and a few clean one-penalty days. Yet, Domracheva, a talented skier had been working hard, especially on shooting with Coach Klaus Siebert. There were expectations for the Belarusian rising star. “Before the Olympic Games, people acted like it was such a big deal and I should be nervous. But I did not feel this pressure. It was just a start like every week.”

She shot clean but only finished 8th in the sprint. Then in the women’s 15K individual she went from promising newcomer to a fast-skiing, 19-of-20 shooting Olympic Bronze medalist. “When I realized that I won a medal, my first thought was, ‘Yes, I did it.’ The hard work I had done brought a great result.”

Olympic Day: My First Olympic Medal with Martin, Dasha and Simon

Dream Comes True
 Domracheva had a premonition about her medal. “Normally, I never think about places or medals. However, the day before, I received an e-mail from a fan who told me to be strong; he had a true dream that I would win a Bronze medal. It turned out to be a dream come true.”

Family Dedication
That first of six career Olympic medals was an emotional experience. “My family was so happy; my mother just screamed with joy. She was just so happy. The Olympic medal was for my father, who is not around. He was very important to my biathlon career and my life. He was always there for me and this medal was for him.”

Olympic Day: My First Olympic Medal with Martin, Dasha and Simon

Right Choice
That emotional Olympic experience was a springboard for her first World Cup victories in Kontiolahti just a few weeks later. The Belarusian star closed her career with one final Olympic Gold medal, anchoring Belarus to victory in the women’s relay at Pyeongchang, making her the most medaled female biathlete in Olympic history. “It is just amazing to find out that I am the most successful biathlete at the Olympics… It means that the day I decided to start biathlon was the right choice.”

Olympic Day: My First Olympic Medal with Martin, Dasha and Simon

Simon Eder’s Vancouver Relay Silver Medal
Simon Eder and his teammates went to Vancouver with high expectations. The Austrians had won an IBU WCH Relay Silver medal in 2009 and had one World Cup relay win before Vancouver. Eder himself had two pursuit podiums before Vancouver. “We were one of the favorites, but in biathlon, you never know. After winning the Silver medal in Pyeongchang, there was a lot of pressure. As a 26-year-old, I was very nervous, especially in the relay. Some of the guys were not completely healthy for the relay, but we were all in super shape and wanted to go in this race.”

Olympic Day: My First Olympic Medal with Martin, Dasha and Simon
Olympic Day: My First Olympic Medal with Martin, Dasha and Simon

Pushing and a Big Hug
Eder led off the high pressure men’s relay. “I knew it was my last chance for a medal. There was that pressure even though I had a great Olympics (4th pursuit, 6th individual).  I decided to push from the first meter and ran most of the race in front. That was my way of taking the race into my own hands; I tagged in second position.” The medal was far from assured, when the usually reliable Christoph Sumann missed his first three prone shots, ending up with a penalty. “It was a bit funny what happened. We were in the wax cabin watching and Daniel Mesotitsch put on his bib for the flower ceremony before Sumi shot prone. I told him, ‘maybe you should take it off, it’s biathlon, anything can happen.’ But Sumi was a good standing shot, he cleaned and we felt better. The last loop was crazy: he and (Evgeny) Ustyugov crashed and then Sumi did the big finish sprint for the medal. That was a big moment; it was my first Olympic medal. It was very special. I was the first person to hug him at the finish. After missing my other medal chances, I hugged him like he was my mother or my wife!”

Olympic Day: My First Olympic Medal with Martin, Dasha and Simon

Olympics “Magical”
The Olympics have always been special for the now 36-year-old Eder and his family. “When I was a child, I watched the Lillehammer Games; it was magical. Winning an Olympic medal was a big goal from childhood; getting it made me a bit more satisfied person. The medal is at my dad Alfred’s house. He has been such a big part of all of my success. He was 4th in the relay in the Calgary Olympics, so he really appreciates it. We keep all of our medals at his house. That is the best place for them.”

Olympic Day: My First Olympic Medal with Martin, Dasha and Simon

Priceless Shared Moments
Although all three of these athletes have won other Olympic medals; the first-Olympic-medal experience is like much of the Olympic experience...priceless and a moment shared with family and teammates.

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